Kickstarter, It’s Rewarding/Business and Art

I’m neck deep in my latest Kickstarter campaign, trying to raise the finance to bring a labor of love, Dublin Salt, to fruition. A photographic book and exhibition of salty Dublin landscapes. 128 pages, hard back, presentation, presentation, presentation. 28 days to achieve my goal, €22, 500 the target. We need to cover the print cost of 1000 books, 200 additional for the fine art edition, design cost of 2 books, then factor in the postage, cost of fulfilling the print rewards, subtract Kickstarters 8% and hey presto you have hit €22,500 with nothing to spare.



Remnants – Blackrock Baths

This figure does not include the printing or framing of the exhibition, the hire of the launch and expo space for 10 days in Dublin city centre, plus the associated costs needed for the official opening. We will be pushing €30k when all is said and done.

It might be interesting and deflating in equal measure, to divide that cost, by the number of hours Dublin Salt has taken to create to work out your hourly rate. But don’t add a profit, as this will bring the hourly rate to a dangerously low figure. These are the economic realities for projects like this. Financial support for this type of graphic art (as opposed to conceptual work) is non-existent from the public sector.

Despite the slightly daunting figures, Dublin Salt is something that I’m wholeheartedly committed too. No regrets, no remorse, no whining, just a desire to move this thing forward. I love being out in Skerries on a winters morning at 7am watching the tide crash over the bathing area, catching the most perfect sunrise imaginable on Sandymount Strand, sleeping on Ireland’s Eye, watching the stars from Dalkey Island. The list goes on. Dublin Salt is a life decision. I feel lucky.

Maybe that’s a key facet of the business of art. It’s not about the money. Well, at least not the creative part. If only I could figure out the Art of Business.

So where does a platform like Kickstarter fit in? From the horse’s mouth.

‘Kickstarter helps artists, musicians, filmmakers, designers, and other creators find the resources and support they need to make their ideas a reality.’

So what of Dublin Salt?

Using Kickstarter as a platform, I set out a target figure needed to get the project off the ground. I invite clients, followers of my work, friends and family, to contribute to the campaign in return for rewards.

The idea is that it’s a mutually beneficial experience. It’s not an ask for help, rather a pre-purchase which gives the creative an opportunity to bring their project to life.  I provide visitors to the Kickstarter page with a video about the work, images and set out a whole series of rewards from €35 to €8500. There’s something there for everyone, but don’t be bashful if you fancy that €8500 office fit out. It’s all tax deductible anyway.

South Wall Sunrise


And it works. Have a look at the below.

Successful Photo Books

CUBA – This Moment, Exactly So. A Fine Art Photo Book. Created by Lorne Resnick

366 backers pledged $140,908 to help bring this project to life.

CBGB Punk Photos by GODLIS 1976-1979 / The BOOK Created by David Godlis

1,020 backers pledged $130,987 to help bring this project to life.

This is Nowhere Created byJeremy Koreski

885 backers pledged CA$ 86,492 to help bring this project to life.


Other Success Stories

WISH I WAS HERE Created by Zach Braff

46,520 backers pledged $3,105,473 to help bring this project to life.

Mini Museum Created by Hans Fex

5,030 backers pledged $1,226,811 to help bring this project to life.


4,462 backers pledged CA$ 610,117 to help bring this project to life.

Poolbeg Mist

Amazing to see the success the platform has facilitated for these projects. On a personal level, I’m happy to report I’m not a new kid on the block either, with previous success on Kickstarter via my company ExploreLight.

‘Life and Death – The Temple’ (created at Burning Man)

Created by


130 backers pledged £13,864 to help bring this project to life.

I didn’t quite hit the $3 million dollar level of “Wish I Was Here’ but the last campaign was a big success in that it allowed me to publish the book I wanted, which led to all sorts of interesting career opportunities. Roll on 2018 and I’m back on Kickstarter. I’m using social media, newsletters, blogs, images, videos, contact lists, online advertising plus a whole lot of blood sweat and tears to make this thing happen.

Kickstarter page refreshing is rife. The creativity has been banked. The images are ready, the designers and printers lined up, the venue secured for the launch.

It’s time to try and bank dollars.


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